Are You Celebrating Your Life?
I wouldn’t call myself an over-achiever, but I achieve. In fact, I’m a pretty damn good achiever. When ideas pop in, I grab hold, turn them into to-dos and get myself busy—doing.
I love the act of plucking an idea from the sky, digging my fingers in the soil, and seeing what emerges. I’ve made businesses with my hands. I’ve created various workshops and events. I’ve written, designed, and published a book. I’m good at working with ideas and bringing them to life.
What I haven’t necessarily excelled at is celebration.
In May I booked a tiny cabin overlooking a cavern full of boulders in Pioneertown in California. I cleared my schedule and planted myself somewhere no one could interrupt me, myself included, so I could finish my book.
Day one was great, day two was hell, but by the end of day four I had persevered and had a finished draft.
I’m in a writers group, and on our call the following week I shared my update, “So, um, I finished the first draft of my book out in Pioneertown and…”
As I attempt to move on through, my teacher interrupts me and says, “Ok, ok, hold on. You finished the first rough draft?”
Me, “Uh huh.”
“Ok, ok. Then everyone come on. We’re going to give her a little hand. Congratulations!”
Everyone on the call started to cheer me on, whistling and shouting. I was laughing and smiling—It felt great to be celebrated.
That was five months ago. Since then I have gone through multiple revisions of my book, designed the cover and the interior myself, took photos, designed a landing page for it on my site, and went through the arduous process of self-publishing.
When that process was complete my writers group gave me another big cheer, and my teacher encouraged me (as he does everyone) to celebrate with at least a cupcake.
When my book was done I could feel how easy it would be to keep it moving, to open the door to the next calling of the Universe, and get back to work.
Right now I might be painting myself as a workaholic, but I’m not. I love relaxing. I have a healthy work-life balance, and I don’t easily guilt myself for taking time off. I know it’s a perk of the life I have created for myself.
What I was finding challenging was celebrating myself.
It’s one thing to take some time off for self-care, but it’s an entirely different thing to declare myself worthy of celebrating something I have accomplished. It felt really important to me, like a missing piece. I wasn’t diminishing the work I had done, but it seemed easy for me to move on. It was too easy.
So, I contacted a few of my girlfriends and asked if anyone would be interested in getting together to have a toast for my book launch. They all said yes, and we did it. I picked out a nice restaurant, I said a little thank you to them for joining me, and I shared why celebrating this was important to me.
It felt a little challenging for me to ask other people to celebrate with me. It’s kind of like throwing your own Birthday party. We prefer others to come forward to celebrate us, but it's important that we learn how to take care of ourselves. That's our job.
The truth was that a part of me felt ashamed that I had to be the one to honor myself.
A part of me didn't want people to think I was being arrogant or bragging about myself. So I almost planned a solo trip, and then I realized that I didn’t want to celebrate on my own. I had gone through the entire process of writing this book on my own. I wanted to celebrate it with people.
Since then I’ve been reflecting on how important it is to celebrate ourselves and how much more we all need to do it. Celebrating ourselves is an acknowledgment of our hard earned efforts in creating. Only I know how much effort it took to bring this book to life, and I need to be the first person ready to celebrate my accomplishments.
It’s too easy to focus on what we’re not doing or to move on to accomplish the next task. In this way, life can become too transactional. It’s all about doing, and the truth is we need some more celebrating. We’re living in a time where some really heavy stuff is surfacing, and things feel uncertain and downright scary. Without denying or diminishing these truths, we can allow ourselves to bring in a little spice and joy.
So now I am paying attention to all the ways I deny myself the right to celebration. When something exciting comes my way I let myself really feel it and how worthy I am of receiving it. I write it down. I share it with people.
I am committing myself to celebrating myself more. There are things I will celebrate on my own and things I will celebrate with others. I will celebrate some things by taking trips to explore the world or places I love. I will celebrate other things by burning Palo Santo, dancing barefoot in my apartment, and taking a soothing bath.
My life can be one big celebration after the next because celebrating myself is really about declaring to the Universe, the world, and myself that I am worthy of everything I desire.